Pick Your Brain: For Busy People

Can I Pick Your Brain?

Updated 08/08/21: This brain-picking blog will help busy business leaders, consultants, coaches and entrepreneurs like you to find the time to focus on your most important tasks by answering this dreaded question the right way and not giving away all your billable hours.

“Can I pick your brain or buy you coffee?” This article will teach you how to answer this question with confidence and professionalism. It’s also worth noting, we love meeting new people so if you want to grab a coffee or have us Zoom in for a brainstorm session, just let me know!

How often do we hear “Can I pick your brain?” in our working life

Regularly on social media, I read posts mentioning this very question and how to respond.

When you become successful in your space and make a name for yourself; people ask you if they

“Can I bounce some ideas off you?”

“Can I pick your brain?”

“Can I buy you a coffee?”

If answering this awkward question is done correctly, it could land you your next big client, sell your online training course, or anything else for that matter.

let’s re-frame your ideas around your skills And Value

Would you go into a shop and run away with a load of clothes without paying for them? NO!

I didn’t think so! So why would you let someone take all your brainpower for free?

Pablo Picasso had the right idea when he was sitting in a café in Paris; a woman approached him and asked him to draw a picture for her.

“That’ll be 1 million francs”. He replied

Pablo Picasso

“But it only took you thirty seconds!” 

Brain Picker

“Yes, but it took me 50 years to learn how to draw that in thirty seconds.” 

Pablo Picasso

So next time you devalue your skills, take some time to think about this story and how much time and effort you have put into honing your craft and learning new skills.

Building your personal brand alleviates time wasters

Building your personal brand makes a massive difference to how others see you, treat you and what they expect of you.

Check out This Blog too: Your Personal Brand Tells A Story.

And also: The Ultimate Guide To Personal Branding To Win

The people who ask you for your help should have a vision of you, your personal brand should make them understand who you are way before they even approach you. To pick your brains.

Ideally, your personal brand will have made them aware of how you could help them and if they could afford you or your solution.

“Can I pick your brain”

If you are unsure about them and whether they are expecting you to give them some of your time for free, then you can ask the questions outlined in the video below.

If you do want to build your personal brand then please email me here nat@natschooler.com

You Are Losing Money When They Pick Your Brains

how to Answer Pick Your Brains Question

“Can I Pick Your Brains?” Many people seem to be really worried about how to answer this question. (Don’t worry I answer it in the 2-minute video)

Your skills could probably help your friends a lot, but you don’t want to come across as money-hungry or look like you are trying to sell them something.

It is really useful to have a response ready, for answering the question: “Can I pick your brains?” It will save you a considerable amount of time, worrying about how to respond. If you put in the time to tailor a suitable response, it will mean you don’t come across as rude and you won’t ruin any relationships.

Pick Your Brain

Building Your Personal Brand, Avoids This Question

If you have built your personal brand effectively then very few people will ask you this question.

Your Reputation Stops Them Wasting Your Time

They already know what the answer would be to “Can I Pick Your Brains?” So generally don’t waste your time.

If they are good friends or they haven’t looked into you and how you could help them, then perhaps you will still get asked these sorts of questions.

“Can I Pick Your Brains?”

“Can I Buy You A Coffee?”

“Can I Buy You Lunch?”

If they have an idea of how much you charge for your product and service it will eliminate most of these questions, as they know what the answer would be.

In sales “qualifying” our prospects is key to a successful sales process, having just the right questions ready is really helpful to not wasting time on the wrong prospects.

We Need To Assess Our Ethical And Moral Responsibilities

There are lots of ways you can help people for free, a set amount of pro bono work could be in your weekly schedule for example. You can always send people to resources that they would find helpful, or perhaps recommend an expert that could help them.

I have met many successful people over the years. Most have given their time freely and given so much great information and guidance, but in some way, we need to pay for their product or service.

Business Referrals Come From Helping People

Some of the people I have spoken to over the years, have pointed me in the right direction and provided me with really useful advice and now I am an advocate for them.

So if I hear about someone needing what they provide, of course, I recommend them and they recommend me as we have built strong relationships over time.

Set Out An Ethical Policy For Your Philanthropy

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”

Charles Dickens

Once you have decided how much time you have, to give away to others then you can work out what your qualification process is, for making a decision about who to help.

Looking at the person who has asked “Can I pick your brain?” and investigating their motivations behind the question is crucial.

Come Up With Some Questions Based Upon Your Ethics

Do they see value in your expertise?

Will they act on your advice?

What business do they work for?

What is their job title?

Do they have a budget?

Are they able to help you in another way if they have no budget?

People Take Your Whole Arm, If You Give Them A Finger

We meet many people along the way, some seek to take as much free advice as they can get their hands on; others are more reasonable and understand that time is money and realise that you are a professional and they will be quite happy to pay for your time.

A friend of mine is the CEO of a hosting company, he taught me a lot about computers and business. 12 years ago, when we met, we discussed computers and the problems I was having with my machine.

I sent him a few emails, after the third email of me asking him a dumb question; he emailed me back “Google Is Your Friend!” after asking him another couple of questions and him responding with the same answer; I took the time to ask Google these trivial questions!

Decide How Much Time you Can Allocate To Give Away

Once we have decided our criteria for offering help; we then allocate a proportion of our time to help people as it will enrich our lives. Sometimes doing the right thing, may not bring us an immediate financial reward but gives us a warm feeling inside and a potential referral in the future.

When Does Brain Picking Stop And Become Paid?

Another good friend of mine has been in mobile marketing from the early days; he runs a mobile advertising platform and we had a discussion about this.

Now I don’t expect anything from people and don’t allocate ALL my time to other people either.

We both agreed that it was a difficult call, he had also struggled with this over the years.

The worst problem exists for independent consultants usually; if you are a consultant I resonate with you entirely, as many of my friends are consultants.

Taking the time to build a personal brand the right way helps set people’s expectations and ensures you can reduce the amount of time you waste.

So if you still want to know how to answer these questions please watch the video above and if you would like to work on your personal brand and would like to learn more about this then visit this blog: The Ultimate Guide To Personal Branding To Win

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